It arrived on Saturday. Our mailman said he was delivering 140 that day to our neighborhood alone and that people were opening their front doors before he even had time to ring the bell. We laid it on the table and looked at it. Luca said it felt like Willy Wonka's golden ticket.
We agreed that he could touch it first.
After we were able to pry it away from his hot little hands, we synced it up and started playing around with it. I set it on my new cookbook stand and the angle proved perfect for viewing. I love the juxtaposition of Black Forest carved wood cradling sleek 21st century components. It's hearth meets high-tech. Piero played an ABC news video and the image was great with no false starts or stuttering.
When I finally got my husband to let go of it, I tapped the Epicurious application. Up it came and as you can see, the colors are lush and razor-sharp.
I did a random search for "pancakes" and was instantly given pages of delicious-looking options.
Then it was Luca's turn. After he wrested it from my hands, he clicked on "Winnie the Pooh" (free with every iPad). I have always sniffed at reading books online because I so love the real thing, but I have to say that the experience was surprisingly pleasurable.
When it came around to my turn again, I hit paydirt. I discovered that with the FreeBooks application, you can download thousands of books that have been deemed "public domain." (Most books become public domain when their copyright expires, which is anywhere from 50 to 100 years or so.)
Many of the titles come courtesy of Project Gutenberg, a website I highly admire. In fact, I have downloaded dozens of out-of-print books onto my office computer...but have never gotten around to reading them because I have been reluctant to read an entire novel while sitting at a desk.
That's all changed now.
In the span of ten minutes, I downloaded 25 books, including:
Adam Bede, George Eliot
Beasts and Superbeasts, Saki
Beautiful and the Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Camilla, Fanny Burney
Crome Yellow, Aldous Huxley
Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey
Fanny Hill, John Cleland
Going into Society, Charles Dickens
The Longest Journey, E. M. Forster
Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell
Mugby Junction, Charles Dickens
The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe
Shamela, Henry Fielding
South of France, Giacomo Casanova
Swann's Way, Marcel Proust
Sylvia's Lovers, Elizabeth Gaskell
The Voyage Out, Virginia Woolf
I was pinching myself.
And look, I know it's not paper, but it mimics it pretty darn nicely.
When Piero finally pried it from my grasp, he touched the Netflix icon and up came our account with all the movies listed in our queue.
We wondered how it was at streaming videos and so I asked him to take "Hideous Kinky" for a test-drive. He pressed "Play."
When Kate Winslet opened her eyes after the opening credits, I swear it was like she was in the kitchen with us.
There is room for improvement. The iPad doesn't play Flash videos (nothing onYouTube worked) -- although there's supposed to be some way around it which we haven't figured out yet. Also, you can't multitask (i.e. listen to music and browse the web).
On the plus side, I thought the keyboard was easy to use and -- gasp! -- accurate (unlike my iPhone, which usually turns "Hey Piero" into "Hwy Pwuri").
We bought an iPad 50% out of curiosity and 50% because we are diehard Apple people and 0% because we had any preconceived idea of how we were going to use it. It's only been a day, but I can tell you this: using it is a very personal experience. In a way, it feels like a true home computer because its size and portability mean it doesn't belong to any one room or person. We can pick it up, pass it around, share it and take it anywhere. Owning one doesn't change anything, but in a way it changes everything. I don't know. We'll see.
After all that excitement, we powered it down and turned our attention to breakfast.
Pancakes, of course.
(Note: The opinions expressed about this product are strictly those of the blogger and were not solicited in any way.)